For cooler days, riding in good quality base layers is a must. As a budget conscious rider, my previous cold weather tactic was layering a jersey or two inside a windbreaker. It was tolerable but not an ideal system, and now that my wardrobe includes some synthetic/merino wool technical garments I’m much more comfortable from start to finish on those cold rides.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to test out super.natural’s synthetic blend Essential Full-Zip 220 hooded sweatshirt and Striped Sport 175 t-shirt. I’ve been quite pleased with both, particularly the hoodie which seems to come out on almost every ride these days…
Super.natural works with a blend of engineered moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics and merino wool for their base layers. The fabric is odor-resistant, dries faster than pure natural wool, and is more durable so you can toss them in the washer and dryer as often as needed. Both the tee and hooded sweatshirt are roughly half wool and half polyester, with a tiny bit of elastane mixed in.
Wearing super.natural’s t-shirt and hoodie, I felt comfortable in a large range of temperatures. The sweatshirt and tee combo allowed me to start chilly rides feeling a bit warmer than a jersey and windbreaker would, and the hoodie’s soft sleeves are definitely more comfortable than some jackets.
The synthetic blend also breathes quite well, and stays comfortable for entire rides – I would unzip it on the way up the climbs, but I never overheated or felt the need to stop and stow it away. The hoodie is certainly not windproof, but it seems to maintain my inner warmth all the way down the trail and back to my front door. I’ve ridden with the combo in temperatures between 42-55° f, and without shedding or adding layers remained comfy each time, up and down.
As a next-to-skin layer, I’d give the t-shirt a B+ in comfort. It doesn’t bother me while riding, but afterwards I find myself changing into a normal cotton tee. It doesn’t quite offer all-day comfort, as some of the seams can feel a bit scratchy. I was concerned that the fitted cut of the sleeves would feel tight or bunchy with my hands spread out to my grips, but this never became an issue.
As for fit, I’m about 5’9″ and a bit on the slim side. The medium size t-shirt and sweatshirt both fit me quite well and the snug cut of the hoodie eliminates the annoying flag-flapping tendency of my old windbreaker when descending. Aesthetically I like the looks of both, and received a few compliments on the hooded sweatshirt on and off the trail.
In a nutshell, these blended synthetic/merino wool base layers definitely took my comfort level up a notch. Super.natural has done a great job offering products with simple good looks, a tailored fit and a ‘temperature bubble’ effect that seems to self-adjust to keep you cozy. The Striped Sport t-shirt sells for $60 USD and the Essential Full-Zip hooded sweatshirt for $120.
Check out super.natural’s website here